Food Security: FAO Seeks End to Gender Disparity

Gilbert Ekugbe 

The Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) has called for a global commitment to address the significant discrimination hindering women in playing their part in the attainment of global food security.

According to FAO, despite comprising 39 per cent of the global agricultural labour force, women encounter significant discrimination, confronting challenges in land and livestock ownership, access to quality and secure jobs, equitable pay, participation in decision-making processes, and accessing credit and financial services while also calling for global commitment to address these entrenched disparities to enhance food security, drive economic prosperity, and advance gender equality within agrifood systems.

Meanwhile, the UN food body welcomed the resolution adopted by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to declare 2026 as International Year of the Woman Farmer, explaining that the resolution, which was proposed by the United States of America and adopted by consensus, invites FAO, in collaboration with the other UN Rome-based Agencies, to facilitate the implementation and observance of the International Year of the Woman Farmer.

It also invited UN Member States, organisations of the United Nations System, other international organisations and stakeholders, including civil society, private sector and academia, to increase awareness of the crucial role that women farmers around the world play in agrifood systems, as well as their contributions to food security, nutrition and poverty eradication.

In this regard, the International Year of the Woman Farmer 2026 would serve as a platform for the adoption of effective policies and actions against the barriers and challenges that women farmers face across agrifood systems, as well as to promote gender equality and the empowerment of all women in agriculture.

The observance will also highlight the vital role of peasant women and other rural women in ensuring the economic survival of their families and contributing to both the rural and national economies.

The move according to FAO, also reaffirmed its commitment to deepen its focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment, which included advocating for policy frameworks that seek to address social norms and structural constraints and utilising gender-transformative approaches to a greater extent in our projects and programming for inclusive rural development.

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